Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery & Aquarium

Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium

Welcome to the Fish Hatchery & Aquarium

After 99 years as a New York State trout hatchery, we opened as a non-profit educational center dedicated to educating our visitors about the freshwater ecosystems of New York. We are proud to have the largest living collection of New York State freshwater reptiles, fishes and amphibians. Visitors can tour our two aquarium buildings and eight outdoor ponds, feed the hungry trout, and try our “Catch & Keep” fishing.


Enrichment Programs

Summer Camps

Give your young explorer a summer surrounded by nature. Hands-on outdoor adventures, nature crafts, live animals and more! 

Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium

Close Encounters of the Natural Kind ~ Curious Naturalists ~ Field Explorers

Junior Biologists ~ Turtle Trackers ~ Fly Fishing~ Orienteering

Outdoor Photography Fun ~ Fly Fishing ~ Oobleck!

Cool Experiments for a Hot Day ~ Pond Adventures

Pond Experience ~ Salt Marsh Exploration ~ Naturalists-in-Training

Pollywog Adventures

Tuesday & Wednesday Mornings - 10am. Begins September. Free with admission to the Hatchery & Aquarium.

Join us for an hour of fun-filled nature activities (fish feeding included).  

Crafts ~ Stories ~ Games. Coffee, Tea, Juice & Snack will be available.

Birthday Parties

Consider having your child's birthday party at the Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery & Aquarium this year.

All birthday parties include a 1 year Family Membership to the Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery & Aquarium.    

Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium

Live Animal Encounter:

See the Hatchery & Aquarium's live exhibits. Feed the hungry trout and learn about fish, reptiles and amphibians with an up close animal encounter. For children turning ages 3 and up. Click here for more information.


Party goers will enjoy a 45 minute fishing bonanza followed by your desired festivities. Fishing is catch and release only. For children turning ages 4 and up. Click here for more information.

After Hours:

Want to have the Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery & Aquarium to yourself? The Hatchery is now available for rent after hours. Parties can be scheduled to begin after 5pm or 6pm on summer weekends. Click here for more information.

Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium 
Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium

Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium

Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium


1. Walter L. Ross II Aquarium Building

This building houses over 30 different species of freshwater fish native to New York State. The fish range from the primitive bowfin to the native Long Island brook trout. In the Turtle Alcove you will find our hatchling turtles. Can you match the young turtles with the adults outside? This building was named after Walter L. Ross II who was an avid trout fisherman and enthusiastic board member.

2. Robert Koenig Memorial Pond

Dedicated in September 2001 and generously donated by his family, the Robert Koenig Memorial Pond houses brown trout and water lilies.

3. Hatch House & Rearing Pools

Trout eggs are protected from hungry predators and sunlight in the Hatch House. The eggs, taken in early November, hatch in late December. The fish remain here for about four months or until they are moved into the rearing pools. The rearing pools are intermediate pools between the troughs in the Hatch House and the large outdoor Trout Ponds. They provide the needed space for young trout to grow. The fish in these pools will move to the larger ponds within the year.

Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium

4. Trout Ponds

Refer to the signs on each pond for the species and their month of hatching. The water that feeds these ponds is 52 degrees year round. You'll notice the nets over the ponds - these help keep hungry predators such as herons and ospreys from eating the trout.

5. Warm Water Pond

The water in this pond comes from St. John's Pond, located directly south of the Hatchery. This pond may freeze in winter, but can reach temperatures as warm as 80 degrees in the summer. Unlike trout, the fish in this pond can tolerate higher water temperatures. The inhabitants are varied, including largemouth and smallmouth bass, bowfin, longnose gar, channel catfish, common carp, grass carp, bluegills, pumpkinseeds, white and yellow perch, American eels, walleye, white bass, lake sturgeon, redhorse suckers, and northern pike.

6. Turtle Pond

This pond has the same water source as the Warm Water Pond. On sunny days many of the turtles will bask on the cedar logs. The various species include Blandings, painted, wood, eastern spiny softshell, snapping, redbelly, and common map turtles.

Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium

7. Round Ponds

The round ponds hold brook or rainbow trout ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 years old. The round ponds are self cleaning; the water flows in at the side and drains through the middle.

8. Tidal Raceway

Freshwater flows from our outdoor ponds and artesian wells into the Tidal Raceway, which then empties into Long Island Sound. Our "Catch & Keep" trout fishing takes place in the Tidal Raceway every Friday through Tuesday.

9. Tidal Creek Observation Platform

From this deck you can observe the tidal creek and the St. John's Pond spillway and dam, where there was once an ice house. There are still many birds and animals which visit, make homes, and sometimes reproduce in the tidal estuary. Anadromous fish, such as alewives and white perch, move into this creek seasonally.

10. Fairchild Exhibit Building

In this building, there are aquariums displaying some of New York's smaller, native freshwater fishes, reptiles and amphibians. The "New York Amphibia " exhibit is the largest living collection of native amphibians in the Northeast. Junior the snapping turtle, stolen from the Hatchery in 1998, has been preserved and is on display for visitors to see and learn his story. This building is named after Julia F. Fairchild, a local resident and leader in keeping the Hatchery open after the State wanted to close it.

Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium

Catch & Keep Trout Fishing

Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium

Every Friday through Tuesday: 10am-12pm & 1pm-3pm

Fishing NOT offered on Wednesdays & Thursdays

June, July & August: Sat. & Sun. Additional Session 4pm-6pm

Spaces available on a first-come, first-served basis. No reservations.

Admission + $5/session.

All trout caught MUST be kept and are $4 per fish.

Bring your own fishing equipment or rent from the Hatchery.

Rules & Regulations:

  • Fishing is on a first come, first serve basis, no more than 12 fisherpeople on the fishing platform at a time.
  • Only paid fisherpeople may enter the fishing platform.
  • Fishing will only take place on the fishing platform during designated times.
  • Fishing poles may be rented from the Hatchery, one hook & bobber included in the rental.
  • Rental fees must be paid at the time of rental.
  • Bait and additional hooks & bobbers may be purchased in the Gift Shop.
  • Part of the fishing experience is baiting and removing fish from the hook yourself.
  • Personal fishing equipment, with the exception of fly fishing rods, may be used.
  • The Hatchery is not responsible for the loss or damage of personal fishing equipment.

** A fishing fee of $5 per person will be paid before entering the fishing platform.

** All trout caught must be kept. ** No catch and release fishing.*

** All trout caught will cost $4 per fish.

Give your young explorer a summer surrounded by nature. Encourage their love of science with outdoor nature camps for pre-k to teens. Come meet the educators and learn more.